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Ultrasound Abdomen

An abdominal ultrasound is a safe and painless test that uses sound waves to make images of the abdomen (belly). The images show the internal structures of the abdomen, such as the appendix, intestines, liver, gall bladder, pancreas, spleen, kidneys, and urinary bladder.

A complete ultrasound of the abdomen evaluates all of the abdominal organs.

A limited ultrasound of the abdomen evaluates one or multiple organs, but not all.

What to Bring

  • Your physician order (your physician may have already sent this to us)
  • Personal ID
  • Insurance Card

How to Prepare

  • Nothing to eat or drink 6-8 hours prior to your test.
  • Essential medications are ok to take with a small amount of water.
  • In an emergency situation, an abdominal ultrasound may be performed without any preparation. Please note, organ visualization may be limited due to food intake.
  • If you have a history of abdominal problems, you should inform the technologist.
  • If you wear an on-body device (insulin pump, insulin regulators, Neulasta, other chemo/insulin devices, etc), you must inform your x-ray technologist. Some of these devices cannot be in the room during the exam.
  • No risks are associated with an abdominal ultrasound. Unlike X-rays, radiation is not involved with this test.

What to Expect

  • You may be asked to remove clothes and to wear a gown during your exam.
  • The room is usually dark so the images can be seen clearly on the computer screen.
  • During the exam you will be asked to lie on a table.
  • An Ultrasound Technologist will spread a clear, warm gel on your abdomen. This gel is required to help with the transmission of sound waves through a small wand (transducer). The transducer emits high-frequency sound waves and a computer measures how the sound waves bounce back from inside the body. The computer changes those sound waves into images to be analyzed.
  • You may be asked to lie still in different positions and hold your breath briefly to obtain images. The ultrasound technologist may also press the transducer firmly to you belly in different parts of the test.
  • Please allow 60 minutes from registration to completion of test.

Getting the Results

A radiologist (a doctor who is specially trained in reading and interpreting diagnostic and ultrasound images) will interpret the ultrasound results and send the information to your provider.